Plagiarism, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is "the action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, [words, cartoon, graph, chart, music, PowerPoint] etc., and passing it off as one's own."                  

Plagiarism tutorial

How do I avoid plagiarizing?

How do I correctly quote and paraphrase? 

How do I correctly cite my sources?

What citation styles are used at SMC? 

Why do people  plagiarize?

Examples of plagiarism:

  • Buying a paper from a  term paper mill to submit as your own work
  • Incomplete or incorrect citation of a source
  • Copying ideas or quoting text without proper acknowledgment
  • Copying cartoons, graphics, charts, PowerPoint slides, web stuff, or other material without documentation
  • Copying text or quoting from a source, supplying proper documentation, but leaving out quotation marks
  • Paraphrasing materials from a source without documentation
  • Signing your name to a group project which you did not contribute to
  • Turning in another student's work as your own

How do I avoid plagiarizing?

  • Be clear about what constitutes plagiarism
  • Document all sources used for quotes, statistics, charts, graphs, ideas, etc.
  • Know which citation style is required and follow the style manual's examples
  • Learn how to correctly document another's words and ideas
  • Meet with your instructor
  • Practice using Zotero to manage and organize your research!
  • Talk with a librarian
  • Work with a writing coach at the Writing Center

How do I correctly quote and paraphrase another author?

  • Quoting = incorporating another author's exact words, sentences, or paragraphs into your own writing ; use quotes and document the source
  • Paraphrasing = utilizing another's words or ideas and rewriting them as you  incorporate them into your own paper; quotes not required but documentation is
  • Summarizing = making broad, general observations regarding a text or source; provide documentation as to the source 

What citation styles are used at SMC?

Subject disciplines often use citation styles prescribed by their professional associations.  Contact your professor to determine the required style for your courses.

  • APA (American Psychology Association): Social Sciences including: Psychology, Education, Business
    REF BF76.7 C66   Concise Rules of APA Style
    REF BF76.7 P83   Publication Manual of the APA
    APA Style Tips 
  • MLA  (Modern Language Association): Humanities including: Art, Languages, Music, and History
    REF LB 2369.G53
    MLA FAQ's 
  • Chicago Manual of Style: Political Science, History (allows for footnotes)
    REF Z 253.U69
  • Turabian:  Range of disciplines for college papers (allows for footnotes)
    REF LB2369.T8

Why do people plagiarize?   Excuses, excuses!

  • It’s easy, especially in the electronic environment
  • You’re in a hurry—why not cut a few corners?
  • You want to impress your teachers with your awesome writing and thinking
  • Everybody does it sometime—nobody gets caught
  • You’re not sure when you should cite
  • You’re not sure how to cite properly
  • Citing is tedious—too many picky details


"Plagiarism."  Oxford English Dictionary.  2006 Draft Revision.  England: Oxford University
             Press, 2007.  Saint Michael's College, Colchester, VT.  28 May 2007

Wilhoit, Stephen. “Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism.” College Teaching 42 (Fall 1994)

Writing a Great Research Paper. 4, Plagiarism & Other Pitfalls. Dir. Karl Weber.
            Videocassette.  Video Aided Instruction, 2007.

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